Amtrak’s Grand Plan for Profitability

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  • Published on Dec 3, 2019
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    References:
    [1] skift.com/2016/10/11/delta-air-lines-chairman-resigns-effective-immediately/
    [2] www.businessinsider.com/amtrak-why-so-expensive-america-train-system-2019-3?r=US&IR=T
    [3] www.bts.gov/content/amtrak-time-performance-trends-and-hours-delay-cause
    [4] www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/corporate/businessplanning/Amtrak-Service-Line-Plans-FY20-24.pdf
    [5] www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-11-20/amtrak-ceo-has-no-love-lost-for-dining-cars-long-haul-routes
    [6] thepointsguy.com/news/amtrak-plans-to-expand-new-nonstop-acela-service-from-new-york/
    [7] transportation.house.gov/imo/media/doc/Anderson%20Testimony.pdf
    [8] www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Texas-High-Speed-Train-is-Shovel-Ready-565182232.html
    [9] www.forbes.com/sites/michaelgoldstein/2019/10/31/billionaire-branson-gets-billions-in-bonds-to-launch-vegas-to-california-train-service/#f5ffad276604
    [10] trn.trains.com/bonus/amtrak
    [11] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_wave_of_January_1977
    [12] www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/corporate/nationalfactsheets/Amtrak-Economic-Contribution-Brochure-083016.pdf

Comments • 4 271

  • KingArthur
    KingArthur 53 minutes ago

    The reasons Amtrak will NEVER BE PROFITABLE.
    1. Amtrak doesn't own its own tracks outside the NE corridor.
    2. See number 1

  • Richard Hunt
    Richard Hunt 6 hours ago

    The REPUBLICANS won't allow it because it conflicts with their ideology that Government run services should be sold to the lowest bidder ( preferably a campaign donor or foreign Country ) than be used by the people who payed for it in the first place !! 🤬

  • R.S. Cherry
    R.S. Cherry 11 hours ago

    Amtrak sucks. I took a ride from west Virginia to DC and back. It sucked so bad.

  • airplanegod
    airplanegod 19 hours ago

    Some of it, such as lack of access to rails because the freight companies own them certainly isn't their fault, but a number of faults can be linked back to them, even if it's due to lack of funding such as old rolling stock, surly employees, limited or crappy amenities on board, and most importantly, they aren't really competitive time wise or even price vs the airlines. The only area they succeed in is the NE corridor because they actually are competitive time wise due to the congestion of the major airports. In the rest of the country, they are probably more competitive than taking a Greyhound bus but that's about it.

  • Trenton Gray
    Trenton Gray 21 hour ago

    what needs to be done is to run Amtrak into the ground and restart by a random group of people. If they cut the run between Chicago and Pittsburgh I know about 50 people who won't be able to make their daily commutes to work anymore. The biggest problem I have with their new CEO is the fact that he doesn't have a love for trains or the railroad in general. Almost every single CEO of every railroad in US history had a love for the railroad and that's the problem with their new CEO's they don't care. Get rid of em and you'll see a change.

  • Wythe Trumpet
    Wythe Trumpet 21 hour ago

    Obviously a Finance Man. Not an Engineer, Conductor, let alone a passenger. These types of SOBs only understand EBIT, sales and cashflow. They know nothing about quality and customer satisfaction. A cross country trip on Amtrak beats being packed like a sardine on a crummy, stinking airplane.

  • Spencer Gambill
    Spencer Gambill Day ago

    i dont even understand why it exists in most of the country

  • FreeSpeech Forever

    The greatest problem for Amtrak is that it has to rely largely on freight tracks. The money needed to have their own railroad would be prohibitive. Having someone who doesn't like trains is not a particularly helpful thing for the importance of the nationwide services of Amtrak. I suppose it's a wait and see situation.

  • David Schick
    David Schick Day ago

    I'd be shocked if 43 percent of their long-distance trains were on time. I don't think it's that high of a figure.

  • Julie Hansen
    Julie Hansen Day ago +1

    Honestly, the rest of the country is mooching off the northeast. The northeast corridor could cut prices by 25% or more and still be profitable and increase ridership if they weren’t carrying the damn west coast roots. Sorry, but if you want to take the train from New Orleans to California ( which is just ridiculous- book a flight) then you need to pay the true cost of this route, which is likely in the thousands of dollars.

    • airplanegod
      airplanegod 19 hours ago

      Agreed, and the Northeast corridor is the only part of Amtrak making any money. Yet people on here are whining over "middle America" not getting train service. Most of those long haul routes are losing money.

  • Eric Taylor
    Eric Taylor Day ago +1

    In a country the size of the United States, trains simply can't complete with airplanes. You just can't beat the safety and speed of a wide body jet, not even with high speed rails.
    Even with the hassle of TSA and layovers, it's still faster to go by air than by plane, especially if you factor in safety.

  • Steven True
    Steven True Day ago

    0:31 dumping fuel illegally this was before LA incident

  • John Deltuvia
    John Deltuvia Day ago

    It's obvious what makes the NE corridor work: they have their own tracks. They invested and got a return on investment. Investing in new tracks on the state and national routes would make those routes profitable, just at it did for the NE corridor.

  • Kales Room
    Kales Room 2 days ago

    I think we spend way to much on military and we could have the best train service in the world

  • Tinil0
    Tinil0 2 days ago

    Ooof, I've taken one long haul journey on Amtrak (Portland to the middle of northern arizona) and it wasn't amazing but the one real big enjoyable part (Besides I suppose the view in times) was the meal service. Cutting that for prepackaged meals suuuuucks for customer experience.

  • Malcs GX
    Malcs GX 2 days ago

    He may not care about trains, but the passengers have already complained about the cutting of certain cars on certain trains...whereby losing money

  • Cheng Liu
    Cheng Liu 2 days ago

    No mention of the autotrain? That is one of the most lucrative routes they have.

  • ERNEST OBENG
    ERNEST OBENG 2 days ago +1

    All across the world public transportation provided by the government is not necessarily to make profit. Government run public transportation is to move people all across the country both in the big cities and the small towns so people will have transportation options wherever they need to be and not necessarily to make profit. Amtrak needs more funding from congress so they can improve the trains, tracks and their services. Every year congress approves billions and billions of dollars to the military for foreign operations so easily but funding for Amtrak, public transportation, medicare, Medicaid and other public services is always a hustle. America really need to get their priorities right.

  • Dan McFarling
    Dan McFarling 2 days ago

    This video has an incredibly long list of false statements. First, and most import, an issue that is NOT mentioned: All non-rail modes of transport are subsidized (aviation, road transport and waterway transport. Freight rail is the only mode of transport that does NOT receive significant subsidy. In fact, freight rail CONTRIBUTES to the tax base, and those railway tax dollars are used to help subsidize other modes of transport.

    Rail is the ONLY mode of transport that is generally expected to use private dollars to acquire new right of way (ROW), develop said ROW. maintain their ROW, provide signal system, policing and traffic control on their ROW. And they pay taxes on not only their ROW, but also on improvements to their ROW (as mentioned above, these tax dollars help subsidize all other modes). Aviation, road transport and inland waterway transport rely in part or in whole on public funding for their tax-free ROWs, traffic control and policing. In addition, many very significant indirect costs for aviation and road transport are NOT included when computing the costs of these modes. The health care, environmental and other social costs (including very significant costs associated with sprawl) of road transport are staggering.

    While an essential part of the rail system, the NE corridor does NOT "make a profit. Amtrak employs arbitrary and inappropriate budget gymnastics which arbitrarily spread "administrative and overhead costs" attributable to the NE Corridor that greatly inflate the costs of national or long distance trains. There is far more that needs to be said - but these long distance trains are in many respects, more cost-effective than the corridor trains - and would be even more efficient if they were better managed. Significant improvement would be realized if most national (or long distance) trains operated 2 or 3 times a day, rather than once/day.

  • Allen G
    Allen G 2 days ago

    "What's likely to happen in the near future" ~Wendover
    The most likely thing to happen in the near, far and medium future - any future - is that Amtrak will continue to live on the way it has for the last 50 years. They can't survive without congressional support. And to get that funding from congress, they need pork barrel routes like the LA - Chicago to keep rural state like KS and NM voting to give them funding.

  • jack torrence
    jack torrence 2 days ago

    With luminaries such as Hunter Biden on the board how can you lose?

  • GrimOxford
    GrimOxford 2 days ago

    Why not have the long distance trains also haul some freight? It could help make the route more profitable, while still allowing the train to haul passengers?

  • Alfred Molison
    Alfred Molison 2 days ago

    If Amtrak tries to become profitable by eliminating all of the unprofitable routes then they'll shortly discover that the remaining routes are unprofitable. The appearance of profitability in relation to passenger service is illusory. It's a public service that requires constant regular payment by government. Our society and businesses are better off because of that investment.

  • Alfred Molison
    Alfred Molison 2 days ago

    There's no way to make infrastructure profitable unless you are a private contractor charging the government. Railroad passenger service is like any other form of transportation the government has to massively subsidize it. Public buses, public highways, and publicly paid for airports and air traffic controllers are required. Airlines also get other hidden subsidies.

  • Ken Lewis
    Ken Lewis 2 days ago

    This channel has showed us how rural areas and small towns are heavily subsidized for air and train travel. These same people vote Republican crying that we need a small federal government. Someone please explain this apparent hypocrisy.

  • Virginia Tolles
    Virginia Tolles 3 days ago

    Mr. Anderson has said nothing his several predecessors haven't already said. Give me the NEC, and let the others die. That's not problem solving. Amtrak is funded by taxpayer dollars. That means all the taxpayers must have reasonable access to Amtrak's services, not just the NEC.

  • Nicholas
    Nicholas 3 days ago

    Great, and we all know what a great experience plane travel is...NOT!

  • Megaozojoe
    Megaozojoe 3 days ago

    I wonder how much of the growing revenue for Amtrak has been America's move away from cars and to public transportation. For years it has been reported that gen z is less interested in cars then ever.

  • SRMkay
    SRMkay 3 days ago +1

    Amtrak is as slow as driving and as expensive as a discount airline. I'll pass until something major changes

  • Don Bing
    Don Bing 3 days ago

    Total BS. Amtrak’s wierd non-GAAP accounting show the NEC as profitable. But on a direct-cost basis, would be a money pit. Likewise the long-distance trains make money. But because of allocations to subsidize the NEC, the long distance trains show a loss. WHO PAID FOR THIS NONSENSE? Anderson simply does not understand the nature of the rail passenger business. It is nothing like air travel. He needs to be replaced!

  • Amtrak Traveler911
    Amtrak Traveler911 4 days ago +3

    Richard Anderson needs to go. He is eliminating jobs and serving frozen microwavable meals. I want fresh cooked food on the trains.

    • airplanegod
      airplanegod 19 hours ago

      Then pay more for it, stop having the taxpayer subsidize it. If I want a meal on a plane, I either pay for it in coach or get in in first with the price of my ticket. Either way, I pay for it, not the taxpayer who will never use it.

    • Ken Lewis
      Ken Lewis 2 days ago +2

      Amtrak Traveler911 - and the rest of us taxpayers should subsidize your preference for fresh food? Or are you willing to pay more for it?

  • Leland Rogers
    Leland Rogers 4 days ago +1

    Amtrak is not an airline! It was never meant to make a profit. It is public transport. Airlines are subsidized by taxes which pay for airports and their associated employees. Amtrak exists because private railroads knew that rail passenger traffic was not profitable.

  • mbryner74
    mbryner74 4 days ago +1

    Just think, what if the cargo planes got priority at airports. That's how Amtrack runs.
    I'd love to ride the trains in America, but when you have to drive to the bad part of town to get to the station, and the only train runs at 3 a.m., and the rolling stock looks like it's from the 1970s, what's the point??? To make it profitable you have to invest in it. Make enough connections that it's convenient, and make it go where you need it to. Buy modern rolling stock.
    The USA is backwards when it comes to trains. So sad.

  • Kilnmaster
    Kilnmaster 5 days ago

    Can you believe I took the "city of New Orleans" line from New Orleans to Chicago and on that train there was NO wifi....thats a great start AMTRAK fucking morons. where am I "the Philippines?" I was and still am so pissed off I will NEVER take that fucking train system again. GOOD job

  • P S
    P S 5 days ago +1

    yet here in europe our trains are millions of years ahead of the USA

  • O Flo
    O Flo 5 days ago

    I know Virgin is non union in Florida. Yeah, Delta Dick is letting go of state contracts like the California contracts.

  • RD4590
    RD4590 5 days ago

    You Americans call railway a communist thing. And you don't like to pay tax. That's why.

  • D M
    D M 5 days ago +1

    Love travelling with Amtrak when in the US. Went from Seattle to NYC with numerous stops and not one issue along the way

  • Terrence Linder
    Terrence Linder 5 days ago

    Stations need major upgrades especially Philadelphia 30th street station.

  • 27trains
    27trains 5 days ago +1

    Try managing customer service first. AH

  • Alex Lawrence
    Alex Lawrence 6 days ago

    A propaganda film for the new Amtrak CEO, a man who made Delta airlines worse than it already was and will do the same for Amtrak.

  • Geofry Lawton
    Geofry Lawton 6 days ago +3

    "Profitability, no matter the cost" is a really apt description of American train service.

  • theyrecousins
    theyrecousins 6 days ago

    ru-clip.net/video/dSw7fWCrDk0/video.html i literally screaming out "portland!!!" for no good reason

  • James Berlo
    James Berlo 6 days ago

    Half a Billion $ is nothing when you think of Federal Government Spending (waste) , maybe eliminate things like the study of Women's Pubic Hair grooming research ?

  • gbrsc
    gbrsc 6 days ago

    Good! Rail is on the way back!
    The loss per passenger in some areas might be from not enough passengers per ride. They may need to decrease the rate of those routes and advertise their availability and

  • Antonio Sciorra
    Antonio Sciorra 6 days ago

    To all the morons that think that rail service is outdated: How do you think you get the majority of your goods? It's freight rail. It still is more cost effective than truck and air delivery per pound. So sit back down and STFU. Passenger travel no matter what kind has never been profitable. It's all smoke and mirrors.

  • Mark Gabriel
    Mark Gabriel 6 days ago +1

    Why dont people ride Amtrak?
    People cant afford it!

    • Mark Gabriel
      Mark Gabriel 11 hours ago

      @airplanegod you can fly cheaper than taking a train. That's a fact, that's also the problem! $1000 for a family of 4 from Chicago to NYC on a train. Or $300 to fly.

    • airplanegod
      airplanegod 19 hours ago

      Not that people can't afford it, it just makes no sense unless you're retired & refuse to fly. Why pay $200 for a coach ticket on an old train with no meals included that takes two days to get to California when you can pay the same amount and get a flight to California in about 5 hours at most?

  • Laura
    Laura 7 days ago

    America's just too big for trains tbh

  • Matthias Andersson
    Matthias Andersson 7 days ago

    CEO Richard Anderson has been getting to work. Unfortunately, he's been getting to work on a Amtrak train - he has never been on time so far. Some say he has yet to step in to his office.

  • James Shewan
    James Shewan 7 days ago +4

    "This route, connecting Boston, New York, and DC, and a number of smaller cities"

    Hold up, wait a minute.

    Philadelphia is more populated than TWO of those cities you mentioned in that sentence fragment. It is actually the fifth largest city in the USA.

    *AND A NUMBER OF SMALLER CITIES*

    • Julie Hansen
      Julie Hansen Day ago +1

      James Shewan true but Philadelphia is just in the middle of the root. As a Philadelphian, we will always be an essential part of Amtrak’s profitability. I think Philadelphia might be the city that benefits the most from amtrak.

  • AbsoluteMoonman
    AbsoluteMoonman 7 days ago

    Passenger rail will never be profitable so long as highways exist.
    The rail infrastructure doesn't exist and probably never will that would be required to service the same people that highways service. Passenger service only made the old railroads money because of things like the postal service exclusively using (and paying well for it) passenger trains to deliver the mail, continuing to operate passenger trains that already struggled before the loss of the postal service and the advent of the interstate, which was required by the government, bankrupted numerous railroads before Amtrak.
    Beyond scenic tourist trains, why do you think private railroads usually no longer operate passenger trains? because a full passenger car on a train of 10ish cars doesn't pay nearly as well as 130 coal, oil, or shipping container cars does for the same amount of locomotives and time.

  • qolspony
    qolspony 7 days ago

    If the states want these trains, they should pay for them. Otherwise, Amtrak should just cut these routes out entirely.

  • ReinSouls
    ReinSouls 7 days ago +1

    I think part of the problem is the unreliability of Amtrak. As stated, as a whole trains were only on schedule 73% of the time. And the long-distant trains being at 43%. These state lines and long distant trains could make more money if they were actually reliably on time. And that problem lies with needing to share lines with private freight companies. If they had their own rails nationwide the trains would be much, much more reliable. In which, more people will be wiling to take them.

  • davidsixtwo
    davidsixtwo 7 days ago +1

    (1) Delta CEO takes over Amtrak because it is struggling. But Amtrak is struggling due to congressional mismanagement and chronic underfunding, not a lack of airline CEOs.
    (2) Amtrak was set up to fail by design -- the politicians behind its founding created it as a transition toward the end of passenger rail in the US. Despite the best efforts of those politicians, Amtrak has not failed -- it may be "strugging" but it's also carrying more passengers than ever and expanding in states like Virginia and it's about to bring over an all new high speed trainset in the northeast corridor, and a fleet of new national coaches.
    (3) Amtrak is not profitable, and neither are 99% of US roads, airports, seaports, bike paths, urban public transit systems, etc. Simply because Delta or Ford or Greyhound themselves are profitable does not mean the underlying infrastructure they use is profitable. If Ford and Greyhound had to pay for the roads, they wouldn't be profitable either (even fuel taxes do not cover a majority of the cost of unprofitable US highways). Amtrak has to pay for the rails, because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    (4) Amtrak trains are delayed due to freight service...no "but still" needed. If freight companies actually made good faith efforts to accommodate passenger rail, the vast majority of those delays would be erased. The remainder of delays are largely due to congressional mismanagement on underfunded infrastructure (such as the old coaches and aging bridges), not Amtrak leadership.
    (5) What you describe with the long distance network as "strong fan bases" are actually a huge catch all for people who do not or cannot drive (include disabled folks, retired folks, people with certain religious restrictions, children, people in poverty) and don't discount the fact that they serve smaller communities that are now rarely well served by intercity buses (Greyhound has massively cut rural service in the last several decades) not to mention mostly being totally unserved by airlines. Add in people who are afraid of flying and people who do not enjoy security situation at airports, and people who want a more comfortable option than intercity buses and you can see why passenger numbers on these lines are increasing, not decreasing as suggested.
    (6) Some of the policies Anderson is changing to cut costs will lead to more dissatisfied users, like getting rid of refundable cheap tickets and eliminating dining cars on multi-hour trains. You can't cut rail costs while also increasing usage, we're either trying to have a public railroad transporting the maximum number of people at the most affordable cost or we're trying to get rich, choose one.

    My point being here, call the problems what they actually are -- political and not based on profitability. We've decided to massively subsidize other forms of transportation (especially cars and trucks) and to not subsidize passenger rail because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Federal state and local governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars per year on roads (again, largely not paid for by user fees like fuel taxes and tolls) -- cars and trucks and road freight and intercity buses are also not profitable, but Amtrak is supposed to somehow compete with them on price or value or on time performance when only Amtrak is being held to this standard of profitability.
    Imagine an alternative scenario where the physical rail infrastructure costs (that is, leasing rail access from freight companies, stations, funding repairs and new rail construction, etc) were operated by a subsidized public agency and the remainder of Amtrak's costs (coaches, repairs, staff) were operated on a more businesslike model. In that case, Amtrak wouldn't look so unprofitable and political parties would have less bickering to do about funding basic essential infrastructure.
    Maybe we underfund rail due to corruption -- highway construction companies who wanted lucrative taxpayer funded payouts and freight companies who want passenger trains out in favor of more profitable freight. Maybe it was a lack of imagination, while other developed nations expand rail and use rail transport as a way of mitigating traffic, climate change, and accessibility concerns, the US languishes.

  • Tommi Terävä
    Tommi Terävä 7 days ago +1

    The US government spends over 700 billion dollars on defence annually meanwhile they don't even have a functioning passenger railway services. I don't mean that one should take a train between NYC and LA. However, trains could be extremely useful on short/medium distance journeys such as Miami-Orlando-Tampa, LA-SF, Chicago-St. Louis, Chicago-Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dallas-Houston, etc. First of all, the US government should fix the Northeast Corridor between Boston and DC. America has so much money that it could easily build a working high-speed rail network if it only wanted to. Air travel should be used only for transcontinental/long distances.

  • CrowFarmerYT
    CrowFarmerYT 8 days ago

    We need a high speed line across america

  • Einhärjar
    Einhärjar 8 days ago

    If congress wants to save money they should be dropping million dollar bombs by the billions all over the world for no other reason than to fight Israels battles.

  • Joshua Salem
    Joshua Salem 8 days ago +1

    Ah yes, profitability. The best way to make public services more expensive, and less practical

  • Fèlix Léon
    Fèlix Léon 8 days ago

    It still blows me away that in 2 hours i can travel roughly 1/3 of the country but in the U.S that's like city to city....its a shame the U.S hasnt got any populous from say China, Mexico etc that could help build the railways for the future like they built in the past.

  • Edward Pate
    Edward Pate 8 days ago +1

    Making a profit simplicity itself. Provide great product at a good price and serve a need and the world will beat a path to your door.